The mission’s annual Pastors/Leaders Conference was held this year in the village of Dumela. This village is located about 30 minutes from the Mozambique border. After being impassable two weeks before, because of a good amount of rain, the river was now down and we were able to easily cross.
It was hot. At one point our thermostat read 45 deg. Celsius (113 deg. Farenheit). The heat did not discourage the men and women from coming. There were around 50 in attendance from 11 villages and Zimbabwe. Many of the Zimbabweans had already arrived and helped us with unloading.
The conference began Tuesday morning with a teaching on backsliding.This was a topic chosen by the village pastors. Pastor and Christ Seminary lecturer Charlie Rampfumedzi also had a teaching time on the subject.
Doug led the devotion for Wednesday morning. This day’s topic was on marriage and family. Pastor Joseph Mahlaohla and Pastor Charlie taught on these issues. In the Shangaan culture women sit on one side of the church and men on the other. Joseph challenged the men to have their wives sit with them in church. At the next session, the husbands encouraged their wives to sit with them.
Joseph exhorted the men to be a leader, a learner and a lover. There was some embarrassment among them just as there is any place else when sex is discussed. Charlie shared his testimony and encouraged the men to be the fathers God has called them to be.
Joseph preached about the dangers of drinking. This is a big problem in Mozambique. Palm wine is produced in Maputaland an area in the south of Mozambique between the Lobombo mountains and the Indian Ocean. It is mainly produced from the lala palm by cutting the stem and collecting the sap. Within two hours, fermentation yields an aromatic of up wine of 4% alcohol content, mildly intoxicating and sweet. Unfortunately there is also a bar in every village and the local spaza shop sells liquor.
The last day of the conference we moved inside the church for a heavy rain storm had come the night before and clouds were still brewing. The last session was on the importance of ministering to the children not only of the church but also in the community and home.
A time of planning for 2013 was discussed with everyone. If the pastors and leaders are in agreement, we may be extending our monthly leader training to three days instead of two. The possibility of staying in a village for up to ten days was also brought forth. This would allow the mission to spend more time with the pastor and come alongside him in his ministering to the people.
They were reminded that they are now responsible for all the teaching from God’s word they heard. They could either go back to their villages unchanged or they could begin to put into practice the things they heard. Join us in praying that they will indeed put them into practice, transforming not only their lives, but their church and in the end their culture. All for His glory!